We asked our Trusted Partner and employment law specialists, Peninsula, to share their thoughts on what a recent landmark ruling by the Supreme Court could mean for the care sector, and they kindly provided the information below for us to share with our members.

Don’t forget! As an HCPA member you can access free advice from Peninsula by calling their 24 hour advice line on 0844 892 2772 and quoting ‘HCPA’.


Peninsula predicts a massive surge in employment tribunal claims in the care sector following a recent landmark ruling by the Supreme Court, with Claimants now having an opportunity to pursue a fee-free claim.

Upholding a challenge by Unison, the Supreme Court concluded that employment tribunal fees were discriminatory and ruled that the government was acting unlawfully and unconstitutionally when it introduced the fees in 2013.

The introduction of fees has clearly served to deter many people from pursuing this course of action, whether their cases were legitimate or spurious. Peninsula is gearing up for a huge dam burst in the number of tribunal applications over the next few weeks, following the Supreme Court ruling.

There are two reasons for this; firstly, as the financial impediment of up to £1,200 in tribunal fees has now been removed and individuals have nothing to lose by taking care companies to tribunal.

Secondly, given the three month time limit from the day of dismissal to pursue an employment tribunal claim, any employee dismissed within the last three months may now decide whether to pursue this course of action, adding to the potential surge in the number of tribunal applications.

With contentious issues such as employment status, payment for sleep ins and the calculation of holiday pay still causing concern for care employers, they may find staff will now not wait to resolve this internally. Instead, employees have the option to submit a fee-free claim immediately and await a binding tribunal decision. There may now be a rush for claims being submitted from current and former staff who are close to reaching the three month time limit to bring a claim.

Any increase in the number of claims brought against care companies could significantly damage their reputation, in a sector which relies heavily on this. Since February this year, employment tribunal decisions are published online. This means not only is the decision public knowledge but the scrutiny of business practices normally carried out by a tribunal when deciding a claim are also publicly available for all to see. The number of judgments and analysis of care companies will increase alongside any increase in tribunal claims.

James Potts, Head of Legal at Peninsula, said: “It is essential employers in the caring industry seek the right advice if they find themselves taken to tribunal but prevention is better than cure – by implementing the right systems, procedures and practices, businesses can reduce their vulnerability to a claim and can be confident they have nothing to fear if they are; at Peninsula that’s what we do day in, day out for our care sector Members. We’re predicting a very busy time ahead for employers and for those who advise them in this area.”

If you would like to talk to your local Peninsula Business Manager, Peter Sheridan, you can contact him on 07971 146 678 or via Peter.Sheridan@Peninsula-uk.com.